Among the organizations keeping the legacy of the country’s first post-communist president alive is the Václav Havel Library, which was established back in 2004 but has boosted its activities since he passed away in December last year. This year the Václav Havel Library began expanding – starting the process of opening a branch in the United States. Masha Volynsky reports.
A series of events have been held in Prague and elsewhere in the Czech Republic observing the first anniversary of the death of Václav Havel, who led the country to democracy in 1989’s Velvet Revolution. The commemorations have included the unveiling of a new plaque to the late president at a statue of Woodrow Wilson in the capital.
The US Environmental Protection Agency has promised to assist the Czech Republic in ascertaining the main sources of pollution in the heavily contaminated Ostrava region and offer advice on how to tackle the problem effectively. American scientists are expected to visit the region for a fact-finding study at the end of this and the beginning of next year. A comprehensive study of this kind was last undertaken in 1995 but the situation has not improved since and air-pollution in the region remains a serious problem that negatively affects people’s health. Doctors report a high incidence of allergies and asthma directly linked to the smog situation that plagues the region’s inhabitants throughout the winter months.
The US ambassador to Prague, Norman Eisen, described the victory of Mr. Obama – who nominated him for the post – as a signal of continuity in his country. He said the Obama administration would continue its policies aimed at supporting a path out of the recession. Mr. Eisen hosted a party at the American Embassy in Prague that ran from Tuesday night to Wednesday morning, with attendees following the results of the election as they came in on television. .
The Czech & Slovak Museum & Library in Cedar Rapids, Iowa recently experienced the worst period in its 38-year-long history. Devastated by the 2008 floods the museum has fought long and hard to survive and continue to fulfil its mission –bearing testimony to the two small European nations’ search for identity, human rights and freedom in the turbulent times of the 20th century. Thanks to generous donations from institutions and individuals the museum was able to reopen its doors to the public this summer. Its head Gail Naughton visited Radio Prague’s
On November 17 1990, the first anniversary of the beginning of the Velvet Revolution, George Bush Sr. became the first American president to visit Czechoslovakia in the country’s 70-year history. This was a time of strong pro-American feeling here, and during their brief stay George and Barbara Bush were welcomed with genuine enthusiasm. Over a hundred thousand people gathered on Wenceslas Square to hear the president speak:
The FBI is to help train Czech police officers in fighting corruption. Deputy Interior Minister Jaroslav Hruška, who is on a working visit to the United States, told the CTK news agency that the training had been agreed on and arrangements regarding time and place were in progress. Mr. Hruška said the Czech anti-corruption unit had a lot to learn from the FBI and that Prague was grateful for the offer which came from the US ambassador to the Czech Republic Norman Eisen.
Czech MEP Jan Zahradil will appear at the US Republican Party convention in Tampa Bay, Florida, later this week. The convention will formally nominate Mitt Romney as the party’s presidential candidate, and Mr Zahradil, who is a deputy chair of a conservative group in the European Parliament, says conservatives would welcome Mitt Romney’s becoming the next US president. Jan Zahradil will appear at a panel entitled Hey America, Don’t Take This Road. RP spoke to the Czech MEP and asked him what his message to the Republican delegates will be.
The Deputy Speaker of the European Parliament, Social Democrat Libor Rouček slammed presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney in a Social Democratic Party blog, writing that the world "did not deserve as its most powerful politician" another "paler version" of George W. Bush. In the blog, Mr Rouček referred to Mitt Romney's recent foreign trip to London, Israel and Poland, slamming the candidate for a number of controversial statements that stirred the political waters. in the past Mr Romney has referred to Poland's neighbor, Russia, as America's number one geopolitical foe. In Mr Rouček's view - the candidate went as far as to damage US interests in the Middle East through comments pertaining to the Palestinians and Israel, referring to Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Polls in the US suggest that Mr Romney continues to trail incumbent Barack Obama, if only just.
The Czech Republic will provide consular services for the US in Syria, the Foreign Ministry confirmed on Wednesday, after Poland, which had taken on that function until now, withdrew its diplomats recently. As the conflict between pro-government forces and anti-Assad rebels escalates, the Czechs are among the few who have retained their mission in Damascus.
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